Hot chocolate is probably the last thing on your mind right now considering the sweltering heat we’re enduring. You’ll likely be much more interested in knowing how to make an iced coffee, and I wouldn’t blame you. But, I recently stumbled across a device which makes such good hot chocolate, I’ve been drinking it despite the heatwaves — it’s that good.
It produces thick and delicious results in a matter of minutes and takes minimal effort. Plus it can do much more than hot chocolate; iced lattes and chocolate martinis are literally just a button’s push away. As a result, my partner and I are hooked and we can’t get enough of it. Here’s what happened.
Hot chocolate in the summer — are we crazy?
The machine which has become our latest obsession is none other than the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser ($149, Hotel Chocolat). On the face of it, $149 might seem like a steep price for a hot chocolate maker, and I have to agree with you. In fact, we only purchased it because we found it on sale likely due to the time of year. We had nearly purchased it previously, but could never quite take the plunge.
However, I’m pleased we decided to treat ourselves in the end, sale or not. The quality of the hot chocolate and the machine itself is impressive. It’s about the size of a milk frother and sits on a small base which powers it like an electric kettle. A handle protrudes from the jug, which you use to tip and dispense the hot chocolate and there's a single button on the side of the base to power it. It’s available in four colors: copper, charcoal, white and platinum, giving it a sophisticated finish. The design feels premium too — the body is crafted from metal, the lid seals itself into place and the whisk within is magnetized.
I should also mention that if you buy this device, you’re also supplied with two ceramic cups and some hot chocolate to get you started, which is a nice addition.
How does it work and what can it do?
This machine claims to ‘velvetize’ the hot chocolate — essentially producing a velvety smooth consistency. It works a lot like a milk frother, whisking and heating your ingredients for just over two minutes until it’s ready to drink. However, what differs this machine from others is the smooth operation and the quality of the ingredients you use.
Hotel Chocolat’s own brand of hot chocolate comes in the form of grated chocolate flakes rather than powder. It’s advertised as ‘real grated chocolate, nothing else,’ with the attraction being that you’ve got a more concentrated drinking chocolate. These flakes can be used with dairy or plant-based milk, or even water. In addition to hot chocolate, Hotel Chocolat also offers latte options which essentially combines coffee with the same chocolate flakes.
As well as hot chocolate, you can use the Velvetiser to make iced hot chocolate and iced lattes — simply prepare a separate glass of iced milk to achieve these. Alcoholic options are also possible, so you could make a Chocolate Martini, Praline Martini or even a White Russian with the right ingredients. Mochas are also possible of course, and you can customize each of these to your favorite flavors. One thing we didn’t expect is that you can make certain desserts using the Velvetiser as well — chocolate sauce and chocolate mousse pots are literally a few minutes away. So it’s safe to say it’s a more versatile machine than it initially appears.
Using this machine really couldn’t be more simple. You fill the Velvetiser with your choice of milk up the indicated line, add a sachet of chocolate mix, seal with the lid and press the button. It’s pretty quiet as it runs, reaching just 58 dB from as close as 6 inches away — we could barely hear it in the kitchen and you can easily have conversation over the top (although the noise will likely vary depending on the kind of milk you use). The whole process took two minutes and 20 seconds and the exterior of the jug remained cool enough to touch throughout — reaching only 80°F towards the top near the lid.
There’s no audio indication once it’s finished, which is a shame, but you can hear once it stops running and the power button light goes out. Your hot chocolate is ready to serve immediately; however it’s worth flagging that you can only prepare one serving of hot chocolate at a time, which is admittedly limiting. You need to rinse the jug out with cold water during successive batches to reset the thermostat.
Clean up couldn’t be easier though. Simply add cold water and a couple of drops of dish soap to the jug, and run it as you would for a hot chocolate, then rinse out afterwards. The lid and whisk are also dishwasher safe should you need a deeper clean.
We have nothing to complain about in terms of flavor and texture of the hot chocolate so far. We’ve been using the Classic 70% Dark Drinking Chocolate, and the flavor for us is ideal. It’s not too sweet, not too bitter, and you can really taste the difference versus using a powder mix. The texture is thick and smooth, without feeling sickly, and all of the chocolate grates are effectively dissolved by the machine, so there’s no gritty residue at the end of the cup. The temperature of the mix is ideal as well — it’s not too hot to drink straight from brewing at 138°F, but hot enough to stay warm for a sufficient amount of time.
It's delicious enough to enjoy at any time of the year. And while you might think of hot chocolate as a winter beverage, this machine can definitely make you think twice.
There’s a huge selection of flavors available, which we’re excited to try. There’s dedicated flavors you can buy as well as boxes which contain a mix (you get 10 sachets to a box). Flavors range widely including white hot chocolate, maple and pecan, mint, ginger, salted caramel and dark and milky options amongst others. The only problem is, once again, these don’t come cheap — you’re looking at $30 a box, or $3 per hot chocolate. Although, you can buy three boxes for $65 to bring it down to just over $2 a cup. So these are definitely more of a treat rather than an everyday drink. But, that’s still less than the average coffee shop hot chocolate, which is a similar quality to what you’re getting here.
Ultimately, we’re happy we bought the Velvetiser. It’s not cheap by any means, but it does exactly what it says on the box — produces delicious hot chocolate to a mouth-watering standard. Plus the versatility of the design means we will hopefully get more use out of it in the future — especially in terms of iced drinks.
I would recommend it to any hot chocolate lovers out there, but would say if you’re making enough for a family, you could be waiting a while due to the limited capacity. Keep in mind the ongoing costs of the drinking chocolate as well; these will need to be an occasional treat unless you’re happy to splurge on hot chocolate.
If coffee's more your thing, read our guides on how to make espresso, how to make pour over coffee and how to make French press coffee. Take a look at our best coffee makers for some inspiration.